Even if Republicans take the Senate this fall and join the House in voting for repeal, President Barack Obama still has veto power, and he’d clearly nix any bill that would undo his signature legislation. And if opponents are waiting on whoever’s elected in 2016, well, a more diverse presidential electorate and a crop of Senate elections that favors Democrats at least as strongly as this year’s favors Republicans makes an anti-ACA wave unlikely.At the same time that people are recognizing the "far from perfect" ACA is here to stay as policy, Republicans are having a difficult time giving up on it as a useful political issue.
It’s also not going away for practical reasons. Because it’s helping people, right now.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who’s caught hell for backing the ACA, is right that it’s far from perfect. But she’s also correct that the law has provided genuine, real-life benefits that recipients would be loathe to lose.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich doesn't think the Affordable Care Act will be repealed, even if Republicans win a Senate majority and consolidate their hold on the House in next month's election. "That's not gonna happen," Kasich told The Associated Press during a recent re-election campaign swing.So Republican candidates who are running on this issue right now are the very picture of backward looking impotent rage.
"The opposition to it was really either political or ideological," the Republican governor added. "I don't think that holds water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people's lives." In a state that's pivotal for national politics, Kasich casts Medicaid expansion as a moral choice to help the poor.
While "repeal" remains the mantra for many Republicans in Washington, it's up against some hard facts.
Take Bill Cassidy, for example. The very core of the Senatorial hopeful's campaign message to this point has been, "Obamacare Bad!" Just take a look at his ads (you find those by starting any random Youtube video) or watch this recent debate (also I took some notes here if you're interested) and you'll notice that Cassidy can't go more than a few lines into any argument without linking it back to Obamacare in some way.
And maybe this is a winning strategy for Republicans like Cassidy. Former President Bill Clinton, who spoke at a Baton Rouge rally for Mary Landrieu yesterday would probably dispute that notion. Clinton, who speaks so frequently on the importance of presenting voters with a set of ideas to vote for rather than grievances to be against, that one would almost believe he'd trademarked the line, emphasized it again yesterday.
Clinton said Republicans are running against Obama’s administration in this election cycle.Now one could argue that this works differently for Republicans than it does for Democrats, or even for an opposition party in any President's second mid-term election. But Bill Cassidy wants to be a US Senator for the next six years many of which will happen after Obama is out of office.
“We all know what’s going on, us Southerners, in this election,” Clinton said. “You cannot afford to vote for what you’re against. You have to vote for what you’re for.”
He ran through a laundry list of Landrieu’s campaign talking points: college loan refinancing and increasing the Pell Grant, her support for raising the minimum wage and energy policies — stances he said would help strengthen the economy.
“We’ve got to build a future we can all share — a future of shared prosperity, shared opportunity and shared responsibility,” he said.
We know Cassidy doesn't like Obama and we know he doesn't like Obamacare. But since Obama is leaving, and the ACA is here to stay voters might still want to know, what is Bill Cassidy actually for?